Monroe man charged in death of girlfriend
A Bushkill man wanted for failing to show up for a Virginia prison sentence has been charged in the death of his girlfriend, whose body was found by a stream earlier this month.
Gerald Neal, 43, faces charges of criminal homicide, abuse of a corpse, tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and unlawfully possessing, using or manufacturing the control, sell or transfer of firearms.
According to an affidavit of probable cause filed June 6 by state police troopers Brian Noll and Brian Janoski, police were called June 1 to a stream on Lower Lake View Drive in Middle Smithfield Township for a report of a woman’s body lying face down.
The woman, later identified as 41-year-old Jeanette Silvia Sancho of Bushkill, had her shirt and bra pulled over her head.
Neal was slated to begin a prison sentence on May 29 for a drug charge in Chesterfield County, Virginia. He failed to appear, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Neal and Sancho were also co-defendants in a 2018 drug-related arrest.
Sancho’s mother, Norma Figueroa, told police her daughter and Neal dated for over a year. She said Sancho and Neal went to Virginia in May, when Neal was supposed to turn himself in, but he refused, and the two came back to Pennsylvania. Figueroa told police that Neal was very nervous to go to jail, but her daughter tried to force him to go.
Sancho and Figueroa talked via FaceTime multiple times on May 31. Sancho appeared to be in a hotel room, and said that due to Neal’s warrant, she could not stay at their residence in Bushkill. Neal was present during the calls.
During the last call, Sancho and Figueroa agreed that Sancho would return home, where her mother would pick her up and take her to her brother’s house. Figueroa’s attempts to contact Sancho after that call were unsuccessful.
Figueroa told police she remembered Neal saying he had a small handgun, which belonged to his cousin.
Video surveillance from the Days Inn in Tannersville showed Neal and Sancho arriving at the hotel on May 30 in a burgundy Honda Accord. They reserved one room under the Sancho’s name and credit card. They did not formally check out, but are shown on video leaving the hotel in the same vehicle the next day.
According to T-Mobile, at 2:15 p.m., Sancho’s phone made a call to a woman who told police she and Neal had a child together. She said the victim had never contacted her before.
A June 3 autopsy confirmed a bullet hole on the upper left portion of Sancho’s head, above the ear. A bullet from a small caliber cartridge was recovered from inside her skull.
Police were notified that Neal had been taken into custody on June 5 in Flushing, New York. An AK-47 rifle was found on the front seat. His vehicle was seized.